On Monday and Tuesday the whole of the Fourth Form were out of lessons taking part in a couple of Outdoor Education Adventure days. 145 pupils out and about, trying new activities and getting their post-exam cobwebs blown away. We were fortunate enough to be able to offer a huge range of exciting activities entirely “in house”, run by our own team of qualified instructors.
Each day half of the year headed off by coach to Eastbourne for a testing walk up to Beachy Head, along to Birling Gap for a picnic lunch, then over the undulating Seven Sisters before ice-cream and pick up at Exceat. The weather could have been kinder and views were a little limited (or even non-existent) at times. There was also bit of protest from some lockdown legs, but generally the bimble along one of Southern England’s finest walks was well received.
Meanwhile the other half of cohort took part in activities selected from a wide range of options.
The Headmaster enthusiastically led a couple of Birdwatching forays up into the Surrey Hills and, despite the overcast conditions, found plenty to see.
Groups were out kayaking on the Wey and Arun Canal at Loxwood, learning to paddle in a straight-ish line, journeying down towards Drungewick and playing a few fun, if damp, games on the way back.
The CCF ran an exciting taster session for their participants, giving them a flavour of drill, air-rifle shooting and basic military tactics.
By way of contrast the survival teams managed to pull through a rather nasty plane crash (fortunately managing to salvage a few bags of marshmallows), building shelters, setting traps for food and starting fires.
An intrepid group of artists set up camp in local woodland and produced some nature-inspired ephemeral pieces using foraged material and coloured yarn.
An Orienteering course up on Winterfold provided another decent leg-stretch for many participants, with Ted Scott, Digby Robinson, Louis Powell declared “The Most Capable Explorers”, managing to collect all eighteen control points in the allotted time. (Though the prize should really go to Miss Johnson, who covered something in excess of 60km over the two days, whilst looking for geographically embarrassed groups.)
Finally, Abseiling proved popular despite the increasingly slick ascent up to the start point. Everyone conquered their understandable nerves and many gained sufficient confidence to attempt James Bond style bounces on the way down.
Events carried on each evening with an outdoor meal of BBQed beef brisket on the Monday night and a buffet in the Emms centre on Tuesday evening. This was accompanied by a review of the two days and an inter-house pub quiz with suitably themed rounds on Mountains, Map symbols, Natural History and general Outdoor knowledge – won by Loveday.
Many thanks to the numerous staff who helped make this all possible at such a busy time of term; particularly the catering team and those leading activities. I am sure the pupils appreciated the experience and, once their legs have recovered, will look back with pride at what they have achieved with increased self-awareness, resilience and confidence.